Magnus Racing Porsche Leads Quintet of 911 GT3 Cup Racers in Round Six of GT Season
Lexington, Ohio – June 9 – The No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup led a quintet of Porsches under the checkered flag in today’s EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Magnus car, shared by Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) and owner/driver John Potter (Salt Lake City), finished fifth in the two-hour, 45-minute, sixth round of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season. The No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche driven by Andrew Davis (Bogart, Ga.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, S.C.) finished seventh while the No. 67 Sargent & Lundy TRG Porsche crossed the finish line eighth. The final two Porsches in the field, the No. 73 Horton Autosport and No. 72 Grant Racing/901 Shop entries, finished 16th and 17th respectively.
"It's nice to be top Porsche, but we're honestly not satisfied given the point leaders ahead of us,” commented Lally following the race. “At a track like Mid-Ohio it was tough to do any more than we could do. We're really hoping for a turnaround at Road America and Watkins Glen, as we're slowly watching the points slip away. The guys did a great job putting together a fast car, we just need to capitalize at the tracks that will favor us."
The Magnus Racing machine looked positioned to finish higher in the running order until the fear of a punctured tire brought Lally into the pits early in their fuel window. Because the stop was early, the former NASCAR driver had to conserve tires until late in the going. Once released from those worries, Lally cut the gap to fourth and was challenging in the closing laps but was not able to make the pass. He finished in a first-through-fifth train at the close of the race, the highest-finishing Porsche.
"I guess we finished 'best in class,' so we do take some satisfaction in that. Everyone did a great job all weekend working on getting us as far up the charts as we could,” said Magnus owner/driver Potter. “The GT field is extremely competitive this year, and having five different manufacturers win in the first six races demonstrates that."
Brumos Racing also looked a likely podium finisher early in the race. Davis, who qualified the No. 59 second on the grid, held second until the Jacksonville, Fla.- team’s first pit stop when Keen took-over the seat. A slow front tire change would drop the Brumos car back in the field and Keen was not able to challenge again.
Possibly the biggest gain through the field during the race was the No. 67 Sarget & Lundy TRG Porsche of Steven Bertheau (Aurora, Ill.) and Spencer Pumpelly (Suwanee, Ga.). Starting 15th, Bertheau handed the car over to Pumpelly early. A damaged front splitter slowed the team during the mid-race portion but once repaired, Pumpelly went on the hunt. The Porsche expert raced from 13th to eighth and was the only Porsche to lead – for three laps – the Mid-Ohio race. Following the race, Pumpelly immediately left Lexington to travel to Le Mans, France where he will race in the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans in the No. 79 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR next weekend.
Horton Autosport had a challenging weekend but the No. 73 team never gave-up. In the first practice session of the weekend on Friday, the car spun off-track into a gravel trap. Damage as a result of the extrication and transportation of the California-based machine back to the paddock forced the team to miss the remaining practice sessions and qualifying. However, with support of Porsche Motorsports North America, parts arrived in time for repairs to be made prior to the start of the race. The car did suffer an oil leak early in the event but the crew made repairs and Tim Foss (Dallas) and Patrick Lindsey (Santa Barbara, Calif.) fought back to finish 16th.
The No. 72 Courtyard Hotel 911 of Grant Racing/901 Shop driven by Carey Grant (Cordova, Tenn.), Kevin Grant (Eads, Tenn.) and Milton Grant (Germantown, Tenn.) was forced off- track early in the race. The team, scheduled to make only two GRAND-AM starts this season, retired on lap 10 to finish 17th. They will race next at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27.
Magnus Racing is currently Porsche’s highest-ranking entry in the GT point standings in third-place. The No. 44 and its drivers are 17 points behind the No. 69 AIM Autosport Ferrari that has 185 markers. The GRAND-AM Rolex Series pays 35 points to win a race with seven events remaining.